Feature: Freshman Starter
|Nickname||Suz or Sloth|
|College||St Joseph's University|
|Number & why||30, 35 was my number all throughout high school but I couldn't get it when I was a freshman so I made a little switch.|
|Right / left||R|
|HSLAX recognition||All-County, Honorable Mention All Metro, Team Captain, Team MVP, Mid Atlantic Team, Galaxy All-Star, Elite 300 Camp All-Star|
|College LAX recognition||Team Captain, Defensive MVP, Overall MVP|
|Years played lacrosse||12|
|Years played goalie||8|
|Any other positions||I played all over the field when I was younger.|
|Favorite food||Any kind of fresh fruit.|
|Favorite band||The Rolling Stones.|
|Favorite book||The Witches by Rohl Dahl.|
|Favorite quote||The journey is the reward.|
|Shaft / head combination used||Eclipse head and a titanium shaft.|
Interview with Suzy Herlihy (Saint Joseph's University)
The developing Saint Joseph’s University Womens’ lacrosse team was helped to a respectable 7-9 record by the shutdown ability of freshman goalie Suzy Herlihy. Suzy finished in the top 10 in the nation with a .517 save percentage and an 8.69 GAA, one of two freshmen who cracked the top 10 in save percentage. Suzy is in Ireland this semester traveling Europe and working hard for the spring. Her team first attitude and dedication to hard-work should spell success for this up and coming program. Coming off her great season and returning to the States with the luck of the Irish, Saint Joseph’s should have another great year with their goalie!
How did you become a goalie and why do you enjoy playing this position?
I loved playing the field but of course when you are younger, everyone has to take a turn in goal. When my turn came around I ended up doing pretty well and it all sort of came naturally. I felt more relaxed and confident in goal than I did anywhere else on the field.
Walk us through the recruiting process that brought you to your school?
I transferred after my freshman year knowing that I really wanted a smaller school and more urban campus. I really appreciate the Jesuit tradition, the business school at Saint Joseph's is very well connected to the community, and I had an older sister there that loved it. Lacrosse wise I knew the team needed a goalie and I wanted to be somewhere where I could make an immediate impact. I felt as though St. Joe's would provide me with a balance of academics, life, and athletics that I wasn't finding elsewhere.
What were your goals for lacrosse and life as you entered college?
I really just wanted to play and do well. I was excited to learn in the classroom and have more academic freedom than I had in high school. I got really pumped for every minute of time I got on the field in fall ball and was excited to be competing at the highest level. I was really looking to exceed boundaries and experience all the new things that come with freshman year.
With a season under your belt, what do you think the biggest difference is between high school and college lacrosse?
The speed of the game and the strength of the players. The passing moves quicker, the cuts are harder and people are a lot more accurate. You don't get as many fluff shots at the cage and you really have to be aware, more importantly ready to react, to everyone around you both on your team and your opponent. The offensive players are very aggressive around the cage and will do anything to score or have the ball in their stick.
How did you get the starting job your freshman season? What was your first game like?
I didn't start my freshman season at University of Delaware. I started my first games at Saint Joseph's however, and I think I earned it through simple hard work. I really dedicated myself to each practice and workout and saw all the shots I could. I was the one asking people to come out early or come at a different time and take shots. I put in the extra workouts and really just focused on fundamentals.
How do you plan to improve on your performance in last year's campaign?
I'm studying abroad right now so I'm not seeing shots but I'm running everyday. The biggest thing I want to improve is my play outside of the cage. I'm trying to improve my overall athleticism so I'm more confident to come out and really get involved, mainly my flexibility and agility.
How do you handle the mental aspect of the position?
I just relax. I allow myself to get pumped up and excited but I stop and take a deep breath before the game starts. I focus on the next shot rather than the one that just happened, or the next clear rather than the one I just blew. Playing in a game is one step at a time and I really just try to keep it all in perspective.
What is the most difficult mental challenge in being a goalie?
Not always thinking defensively. Obviously you are the last line of defense, but you are also the first point of the offense when you clear the ball. I try not to let the attacker always have the control or the advantage, especially in a one on one situation when it's really tough. There are tons of movements you can make to distort their chances and gain advantage but it's so easy to get flustered and forget about them in the moment of action.
How much effort do you put in to develop your ability?
I take shots before and after practice most days. I take a lot of initiative in being there early and staying late or jumping in the cage whenever possible. It's good for everyone on the team. I just get as many shots as I can and really focus on the basics, and it gives the shooters time to shoot on something besides an empty net. My teammates help me out a lot in terms of placing their shots if I need it and giving feedback.
Did you play any other sports or positions in high school that carried over to the lacrosse field?
I played both basketball and field hockey. There is a lot of overlap in basketball in terms of game strategy but I really think the biggest thing was maintaining and developing athleticism through both.
Do you do any special activities to prepare for the season from a positional standpoint besides team lifting and running programs?
Jump rope and Pilates.
Describe for our readers some of the techniques and styles you use when you play the position and any philosophies you have about the game.
I'm pretty fundamentally sound. Playing goalie isn't always about flash or diving and making the huge save. It's about making all the saves that you should... and then some. Too many goalies get caught up in this bouncing around in the crease and worrying about shots that get by and then showing their frustration. It's really about being a good teammate and stepping up for your team because having a consistent goalie is a huge part of a winning dynamic.
How was your first year adjusting to life on campus and being away from home?
Tough. Obviously, I transferred after my freshman year so I was dealing with that. Academically, you have to get used to having a couple exams and performing well on them because that's probably all your grade is going to be. So there is some pressure there. Time management is huge and in high school a lot of that is taken care of for you. It's so exciting though, and you meet twenty new people everyday. I realize that it's probably the best time of your life even though it doesn't always feel like it. I really missed home and my friends, but you make new ones so fast.
Do you have any other hobbies or interests besides lacrosse that you'd like to share with us?
I love traveling. I want to see the entire world. I am abroad right now in Galway, Ireland and am booked to go somewhere around the country/Europe almost every weekend.
What do you do for fun?
I really like to cook for my family and friends. I love the beach and hanging out outdoors.
Who has been your greatest role model growing up?
What are some of your individual and team goals for the rest your college lacrosse career?
Any advice for aspiring goalies?
Play as many sports as you can and just be confident. Play all over the field and see as many shots as you can on a regular basis. Don't be afraid to mess up.